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2006-04-11

Immigrant Rights Marches Likened to Second Civil Rights Movement

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Many are likening the extraordinary national mobilization for immigrant rights to a second civil rights movement. We go to Birmingham, Alabama to speak with the Rev. Lawton Higgs of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. [includes rush transcript]

  • Rev. Lawton Higgs, Chaplain of the Birmingham Chapter of Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Mayor Anderson, speaking of the Civil Rights Movement, we’re joined by Reverend Lawton Higgs, who is chaplain of the Birmingham chapter of Southern Christian Leadership. That’s Birmingham, Alabama. He protested in Washington, D.C., and a while ago and this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Reverend Higgs. Can you talk about the protests now around immigration and the Civil Rights Movement that you participated in 40 years ago?

REV. LAWTON HIGGS: Sure. It was an exciting experience to participate, you know, with the struggle of African Americans for full citizenship and liberty and justice here in Birmingham. And the fruits of the Civil Rights Movement are a glorious contribution to our country. We thank God for Fred Shuttlesworth and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and it was exciting this past Sunday afternoon to walk into Kelly Ingram Park under the statue of Martin King as another group of persons who have been brought into America to work here and are struggling for full human rights and civil rights and citizenship in America. It was a beautiful experience.

AMY GOODMAN: How many people turned out?

REV. LAWTON HIGGS: Well, there were about 3,000 or so people here, and I understand this morning, I heard on the news there were 5,000 in another city here in Northwest Alabama, and a lot of energy about that. And this whole movement, as I have participated in it and given support as an ally for immigrants and other people struggling for justice, has the same goals that, you know, the Civil Rights Movement had, and that was enfranchisement, full citizenship, participating in our culture.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us, as we do this roundup of protests all over this country. I want to thank Reverend Lawton Higgs, chaplain of Birmingham chapter of the SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City in Utah. We will, of course, continue to cover this unprecedented wave of protest. These are not just the largest immigrant right protests in this country, but the largest protests on any issue in the history of the United States of America.

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